Former Australia batsman and the coach of Indian Premier League side Gujarat Lions Brad Hodge, on Sunday, speculated that India captain Virat Kohli may have missed the final Border-Gavaskar Test to be fit in time for the cash-rich tournament, reported the Daily Telegraph.
Kohli opted out of the Dharamshala Test after stating that he was not 100 percent fit, and was replaced by spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who made his debut in the match. Hodge, though, hoped that the 28-year-old’s injury – a shoulder strain he suffered in Ranchi – was severe enough to keep him out of the series decider, “I’m hopeful, as a Gujarat Lions coach, that when we play RCB [Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore] in a couple of weeks, that he’s not playing.”
“Because if you miss one game of Test match cricket and you’re fronting up the next week for RCB versus whoever at Chinnaswamy Stadium – you’d be pretty dirty if he didn’t front up to a Test match and try and win a valuable series against Australia – which has been pretty spiteful as well,” Hodge said. “You would think that your captain would get out there and get amongst the fight and get in there. You’d hope as a sportsman that he’s seriously injured,” he added.
Hodge also stated that if Kohli prioritised the IPL, he would not be the first player to put franchise duties ahead of national duties, “It’s happened before,” said Hodge. “Not just Virat but there’s many players that have come up to IPL time and ... look, we know it’s a cash rich tournament, there’s some money up for grabs,” added Hodge, who previously represented Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
The big bucks at stake will enforce more players to treat their respective injuries with kid gloves, suggested Hodge: “He gets paid a helluva lot of money, he gets paid a helluva lot of money anyway, so it doesn’t matter, but there are certain players that will limp in, to IPL time, to make sure they get there and perform well, because it is an important tournament for everyone around the world,” the 46-year old said.
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